is not just a marketing catch-phrase. It is a term used to describe ethical
tourism that focuses on appreciation and preservation of a country's
flora, fauna, ecosystems and culture.
stands at the forefront of the ecotourism movement. Despite its small
size, no other country can boast a greater percentage of its land mass
dedicated to natural reserves, parks, and preserves.
idea behind ecotourism is that visitors to a place can contribute to
the environment and support the people who live in that environment.
If the local people can make a living from tourism, then there is less
need to burn off the forest for food or hunt endangered animals for the
price of their skins.
hires local guides and drivers and consciously contributes to the local
economy, environment and community in Belize. Most
recently, InnerQuest raised funds to put Martin "Batch" Humes,
one of our local guides, through his final year in college. Our commitment
to bring tourist dollars has a tangible influence in saving the environment,
providing jobs, and raising environmental standards.
As an InnerQuest
client, your tour dollars protect and serve the areas you visit. Eco-tourism
can only work if it is supported by wildlife and nature lovers like you,
who care about the environment. To help you better enjoy and contribute
to the environment of Belize, there are several things you can do.
water and electricity:
Most Belizean hotels, resorts, and private homes obtain water for drinking
and washing from cisterns that trap rainwater. However, dependence on
rainwater also means dependence on the weather cycle. Like most of the
rest of the world, Belize is subject to periodic droughts; drought conditions
are especially prevalent on the Cayes. Even during the "rainy season,"
rain may be sporadic and irregular. During the "dry season," there may
be little or no rain for weeks at a time.
costs in Belize are among the highest in the world; and can seriously
impact the profit margin for a small or family run hotel or guesthouse.
Be conscious of your utility usage; turn off your air conditioner when
you don't really need it or when you are leaving your room.
Reef and Marine ecosystems
The increasing popularity of the world's second largest barrier reef
is both a blessing and a curse. Some of Belize's most popular underwater
attractions are showing signs of damage from excessive and often careless
human contact; the local tourism associations and environmental organizations
have responded by implementing reef protection education programs focussed
at dive operators. Marine ecosystems are extremely fragile; the mere
act of touching coral can kill it. When you dive or snorkel, be careful
not to touch the coral; and make sure that your fins donŐt kick sand
up into the coral. If you are chartering a boat, be extremely careful
that your boat anchors well away from the reef. Needless to say, waste
should not be dumped from a boat into the sea. Dive operators in Belize
are now well trained in reef protection; you will probably get a lecture
about protecting the reef before you hit the water. However, if you observe
careless conduct on the part of your captain or crew, donŐt be hesitant
to report the offending operator to the local Belize Tourist Industry
Association (BTIA) office; ask your hotel manager to put you in contact
with the local BTIA representative. If you see a fellow guest abusing
the reef, take him or her aside and tactfully explain why he/she should
be more careful.
area and wildlife habitat protection:
Travel to wilderness areas are best undertaken in the company of trained
and experienced local guides (some areas permit only guided tours for
the protection of both habitat and visitors). If you do decide to proceed
without such a guide, take the time to learn about the area and how to
ensure that you do not inadvertently stray too close to important wildlife
habitats. A visit to the local Audubon Society or other organization
involved in projects in the area you plan to visit can assist you in
obtaining such information.